by Greta Yeoman
Hundreds of whitewater paddlers showed off their skills at the Tekapo whitewater course over Easter weekend.
The Canoe Slalom New Zealand whitewater nationals, held at the South Canterbury course on March 31 and April 1, attracted more than 390 athletes, organiser Alan Hoffman said.
The individual kayak (K1) women’s slalom was won by Luuka Jones, while Finn Butcher won the men’s competition.
Kelly Travers won the individual Canadian (C1) canoe women’s event and Ben Gibb placed first in the men’s.
The double Canadian canoe (C2) men’s event was won by James Suddaby and Aden Cassaidy, while Roy Bailey and Ngaio Hart placed first in the mixed doubles Canadian (C2MX) race.
In the B-grade finals, Charlie Bell placed first in the C1 men’s division, Jack Egan claimed the men’s K1 title and Mackenzie Groos the K1 women’s division.
The laser timing equipment, bought late last year after the Tekapo White Water Trust was granted $31,000 by the Mid and South Canterbury Community Trust, was a success, Hoffman said.
Automatic data entry into the computer system had eliminated any chance of human error in recording race times.
The next aim for the trust was getting grants to fund electronic screens to instantly notify both racers and observers of the canoeists’ times along the course, he said.
He also hoped the course might be able to host Oceania Championships, which were held in New Zealand every two years, in the future.
Many of the international-level Kiwi competitors had said the course was up to World Cup standards, he said.